Michael Schumacher out of coma, leaves French hospital

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The manager for Michael Schumacher has confirmed that the seven-time Formula One World Champion is no longer in a coma and has left a hospital in Grenoble, France where he has been receiving treatment since his ski accident last December.

In a statement, Sabine Kehm said the racing legend would now “continue his long phase of rehabilitation” and said that it would “take place away from the public eye.”

However, the Associated Press received confirmation that Schumacher is now at the Lausanne University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland from a hospital spokesperson there. Schumacher and his family live in the country.

Kehm added that his family “would like to explicitly thank all his treating doctors, nurses and therapists in Grenoble as well as the first aiders at the place of the accident, who did an excellent job in those first months.”

The family also expressed its gratitude to “all the people who have sent Michael the many good wishes … We are sure it helped him.”

Schumacher suffered a severe head injury during his Dec. 29, 2013 ski accident at the Meribel resort in the French Alps after he fell and hit his head on a rock. After arriving in Grenoble, he was placed into a coma by doctors and underwent several surgeries.

In January of this year, it was announced that doctors had begun the “waking up” process for Schumacher. However, official updates had been few and far between, leading to widespread media speculation about his health.

But this morning’s news should be very heartening for his colleagues in the paddock and the millions of race fans around the world that have kept Schumacher in their thoughts since his accident.

Both Ferrari (where Schumacher won five of his seven championships) and Mercedes (where Schumacher ended his brilliant career) have called such news “encouraging” on their respective Twitter pages:

SMP Racing unveils BR1 LMP1 car in Bahrain ahead of WEC entry

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SMP Racing has publicly unveiled its new BR1 LMP1 car that will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2018.

SMP Racing opted to pull out of racing full-time in the WEC for 2017 in order to focus on its preparations for an LMP1 entry the following year, with the decision being taken long in advance of Porsche’s exit announcement.

Officials from the Russian-backed SMP Racing, as well as drivers including recent IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin (sporting a broken arm in a sling), Vitaly Petrov and Sergey Sirotkin were all on hand to unveil the car on Friday in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock ahead of this weekend’s WEC finale.

The BR Engineering BR1 features a Dallara chassis and an AER engine, and has completed over 2,000 km in private testing, with further running set to be completed in the coming weeks.

SMP Racing plans to field two cars in the WEC’s LMP1 class next year, and is keen to get as many Russian drivers as possible in the seats from its wide pool of talent.

Even with Porsche’s departure from LMP1, the class is set to feature a bigger field thanks to the increased number of privateers moving up, with Toyota set to remain the sole manufacturer in the class.